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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Dean's Column (June 2016)

Dear Colleagues,

This year, we are bringing greater awareness to the many ways Extension reaches all corners of Minnesota. To do this, I am in the process of visiting all 15 of our regional offices and as many counties as possible!

During these trips, I am meeting with Extension employees in the regional offices, visiting with donors and partners, attending local program events and conducting some media interviews along the way. It is always so inspiring to see our work, meet with our staff and partners, and find more ways to highlight Extension’s education, research and impact.

In addition, Extension has been participating in the University’s new SPARKS program, which offers an opportunity for people in Greater Minnesota to hear from three University faculty who each give a 20-minute presentation. The Spring SPARKS events were held in Red Wing in March, Brainerd in April and Mountain Iron in June. Extension faculty Mark Seeley, Brian Horgan and Laura Kalambokidis all received positive reviews as SPARKS presenters.

This fall, SPARKS events will be held in Fergus Falls, Marshall and St. Cloud. Watch for more information about these programs and pre-event receptions with Extension. Prior to the spring SPARKS events we hosted receptions for friends of Extension, which many of you attended.

We plan to continue that successful effort with the fall events as well!

I look forward to seeing you during my travels and at the upcoming retiree luncheons.

Bev Durgan, Dean

Connect at a summer Extension retiree luncheon

It’s always great to learn what you are doing and share the news of Extension. There are three summer luncheons coming up. I hope you can make it to one of them!
  • Northwest Minnesota: Friday, July 22, 12-2 p.m., Fair Hills Resort (optional cruise on Pelican Lake after lunch), 24270 Co Hwy 20, Detroit Lakes; RSVP by July 15.
  • Twin Cities: Wednesday, July 27, 12-2 p.m., Midland Hills Country Club, 2001 Fulham St., Roseville; RSVP by July 20.
  • Southern Minnesota: Wednesday, Aug. 10, 12-2 p.m., The Kahler Grand Hotel, 20 SW Second Avenue, Rochester; RSVP by Aug. 3.
Please RSVP to Wan Tansatit, Extension development office, at (612) 624-7971 or with your name and the luncheon location you will attend.

Jane Johnson
Director of Development

New grant award of $1 million to multidisciplinary team

The Extension Center for Family Development received nearly $1 million in new grant funding from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to improve the health of children. The Latino Fathers Promoting Healthy Youth Behaviors project aims to prevent obesity among Latino adolescents by engaging families, especially fathers or other male caregivers in the household. The multidisciplinary team working on this project includes faculty from several departments at the University; Extension educators from health and nutrition, family relations, and family resource management; SNAP-Ed educators; and Latino community leaders. See the full story

Stay current by reading Source magazine, Summer 2016 issue

The Summer 2016 issue of Source magazine is live on the Extension website, as well as in your mailbox. Reading Source helps keep you to up to date with what’s happening in Extension, and it’s also a great way to find stories to share with your own network. Source highlights Extension research and education that creates a stronger Minnesota.

Summer 2016 stories:

More Extension impacts

Extension makes a difference in many more ways than can fit into Source magazine. Here are a few more recent highlights:
  • There are fewer neglected horses in Minnesota, a trend experts attribute to an improved economy, education and other preventive measures. Krishona Martinson, Extension equine expert and livestock program leader, explains Extension’s role in this success in Education and prevention help boost horse welfare, which was also featured in the Star Tribune
  • The activities of the Master Gardeners benefit schools, community gardens, youth programs, environmental education programs and farmers markets, to name a few. Learn more in the 2015 Master Gardener Annual Report.
  • More than 2,800 participants from Minnesota and beyond have graduated from Extension's leadership and civic engagement programs. On the Leadership makes a difference website, several of these program alumni tell how their Extension education helped them contribute in their communities. Read Choosing how to lead in Vital Connections to learn more.
  • Sarah Butler, Extension educator in family resource management, was recently featured in the University’s Driven to Discover campaign for helping inmates learn financial skills.

Awards and Accomplishments (June 2016)

Ryan Cox, Extension meat science specialist and an associate professor, received the Outstanding Faculty Award from Block and Bridle, a club for students interested in animal agriculture. He received the award for his research on meat quality, work with the meat lab, and involvement with FFA meat judging contests.

Brian Horgan,
Extension turfgrass horticulturalist, was honored at the 2015-2016 CFANS College Awards as part of the May 4 CFANS Spring College Assembly. Brian received the Distinguished Extension/Outreach Award for his work in turfgrass and his contributions to the Department of Horticultural Science.

Gary Johnson,
Extension urban and community forester, received the Frederick Law Olmsted Award as part of the 2016 National Arbor Day Awards. He received this award for improving tree care and planting practices across Minnesota in both small towns and cities for the last 25 years. View a video about award.

David Kjome,
Extension specialist, will be one of five National Dairy Shrine Pioneers that will be inducted into the National Dairy Hall of Fame on Oct. 6 in Madison, Wisc.

Jim Paulson,
Extension educator in dairy, received the 2015 Outstanding Service Award from Midwest Forage Association. Jim was presented with the award at the Midwest Forage Symposium in Wisconsin Dells.

Mike Schmitt, associate dean, was awarded Outstanding Agricultural Mentor at the Women’s Agricultural Leadership Conference on April 13. This award honors those who are influential mentors to numerous women across Minnesota.

Marla Spivak,
Extension entomologist, is the recipient of the Siehl Prize for Excellence in Agriculture in the knowledge category. This annual CFANS award honors those who make significant contributions to feeding the world. The award was presented on May 26.

Welcome new retirees

Sherry P. Boyce, Extension educator, Center for Youth Development, retired on May 19 after 35 years of service. Her understanding of the theory and practice of positive youth development, along with teaching, program planning and evaluation led to successes in supporting employees, volunteers, youth development professionals and partners in St. Louis County.

Debra Drange,
Extension finance and planning, has worked in many roles for the University over the past 41 years. Her contributions as a contract and voucher specialist for Extension have been exceptional and she will hard to replace. Debra will retire on June 30.

Larry Jacobson’s
career as an Extension engineer in bioproducts and biosystems engineering spanned 41 years. His innovative research led to development of Extension programs in animal housing systems, ventilation and environmental control, energy conservation, and effective manure and odor management. He retired on May 20.

Connie Vaplon, Wabasha County Extension support staff, retired on May 19 after serving as the consistent face and voice of Extension in Wabasha County. Her contributions to the ebb and flow of the 4-H program, from enrollment to county fair and state fair, have been much appreciated.
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